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Home > News > Bike ride to raise awareness of ovarian cancer

Bike ride to raise awareness of ovarian cancer

Posted on Wednesday 29th August 2012
kathy gillies

Dr Kathy Gillies in training for her charity bike ride

A Consultant at West Cumberland Hospital is taking part in a coast-to-coast charity bike ride to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.

Dr Kathy Gillies, an Obstetrics and Gynaecology Consultant, is one of seven riders who will be cycling 240 miles from Whitehaven to Gateshead next month, stopping off at cancer treatment hospitals along the way with a roadshow promoting ovarian cancer awareness.

The event has been organised by Professor Richard Edmondson, Professor of Gynaecological Oncology at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research in Newcastle, and Ken Gyles, father of Emma Gyles of Aspatria, who died in 2008 aged just 24 of ovarian cancer. The riders will be raising money for the Emma Gyles Bursary, set up in Emma’s memory to help fund research into ovarian cancer, with the aim of raising £10,000 a year to fund a full-time medical student to work on the research alongside Professor Edmondson and his team.

The group, which also includes Maddie Moat, the 2012-13 recipient of the Emma Gyles Bursary, will set off from Whitehaven at about 7.30am on Thursday 6 September, aiming to arrive at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead the following evening. They will call at 11 gynaecological oncology departments en route including Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary at 11am on 6 September, where there will be a display in the main atrium promoting ovarian cancer awareness.

More than 200 cases of ovarian cancer are diagnosed each year in the North of England Cancer Network area, which stretches from Whitehaven in the west to Middlesbrough in the east and up to the Scottish border. Some forms of ovarian cancer can be treated locally in north Cumbria or at the Northern Gynaecological Oncology Centre in Gateshead and James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough and chemotherapy is available in a number of hospitals throughout the region.

Dr Gillies said: “The North of England Cancer Network has one of the best survival rates in the country but there is still much work to do. We hope this cycle ride will help raise awareness and alert women to the symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as raising money to help fund future research into this killer disease.”

Although ovarian cancer is commonly called a silent killer in fact many patients do have symptoms but do not recognise them as being important. Common symptoms to look out for are:

• Persistent pelvic or abdominal pain (that is your tummy button and below)

• Increased abdominal size/persistent bloating – not bloating that comes and goes

• Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly

• Urinary symptoms (needing to wee more urgently or more often than usual)

It is important to remember, however, that in most cases these symptoms are only serious if they are frequent, persistent and new.

To donate or for more information on the Emma Gyles Bursary fund visit www.justgiving.com/kengyles online.

The holder of this year’s Emma Gyles Bursary was Anna Grundy, who carried out a project developing methods to isolate ovarian cancer cells in order to be able to test them to see whether the cancer would respond to new drugs called PARP inhibitors. She was successful in being able to isolate cells and test them in under five days whereas previously this had taken 15 days – an important step in being able to deliver treatments quickly to patients. The importance of her work has already been recognised and she is due to present her findings at the National Cancer Research Institute meeting in Liverpool this December.

Anna said: “I am immensely grateful for the fantastic opportunity to carry out a research project in ovarian cancer. Working with the ovarian cancer research group has been incredibly rewarding and has encouraged me to pursue my interest in the speciality of oncology. I now have a greater appreciation of the challenges faced by individuals with ovarian cancer and feel honoured to have contributed towards the development of better treatments for these patients.